Callum Robinson returned to the Sheffield United starting line-up against West Ham United on Saturday, playing 54 minutes in the 1-1 draw.
Robinson couldn’t get himself on the scoresheet, but watched substitute Lys Mousset bag the equaliser. Having been an unused substitute against Arsenal, Robinson didn’t really seize his chance in the Blades line-up.
The 24-year-old was a hero at Preston, hitting 19 goals and 10 assists in his two seasons under Alex Neil. It was no great surprise when North End sold him, bringing in £8million for a player they signed for £170,000 in 2016.
Robinson was allowed to join Sheffield United inside the final year of his Preston deal, and whilst losing him was a blow, many just wanted to see him go well in the Premier League. After all, Aston Villa let him go without really giving him a top-flight chance.
So how is Robinson faring? Well, it’s fair to say his first couple of months in the Premier League have been one of adjustment. So far, the Irish international has only managed one goal and no assists for the Blades.
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His goal came in the 2-2 draw at Chelsea in August, meaning he’s now gone five Premier League games without a goal. He didn’t manage to get on against Arsenal, with Chris Wilder preferring to use David McGoldrick and Lys Mousset from the start, before bringing on Oliver McBurnie and Billy Sharp.
That shows the competition for places at Bramall Lane, and Robinson needs to step up. He’s been defended by Wilder, who told Sky Sports earlier this month that the likes of Robinson, McBurnie and Mousset need time to adjust to Premier League football.
That’s more than fair, as there is a real jump from the Championship to the Premier League. Robinson will seemingly get every chance to make that leap, but he didn’t exactly impress against West Ham.
Some Blades fans took to Twitter to criticise Robinson on Saturday, blasting his display at West Ham. Supporters called him a flop, not good enough and lazy, with some unsure about his role.
Robinson has been used in a front two for United, having mostly played in from the left flank for Preston. Wilder isn’t about to change his 5-3-2 system, so Robinson essentially needs to adapt to a new role and a new league.
That’s a difficult task, but one fan even suggested that he will be moved on quickly in January, just like Lee Evans was having failed to impress Wilder.
With The Sun claiming that United want Brentford’s Ollie Watkins – a similar player to Robinson – that may not be beyond all realms of possibility, and how we’d love to have Robinson back at Deepdale to aid our promotion bid. For now, we’ll just hope that he comes good at Bramall Lane.